The Comfort Craving: A Scientific Approach


Most people have times when they seek out comfort in various forms. Different things comfort different people. Many, however, are common throughout cultures. Children may wish to be held, while adults seek out favorite foods. The need for comfort stems from common cravings across the globe. Take a look at how we deal with the need to feel secure and why we desire a certain form of comfort.

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That Familiar Feeling
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Most individuals know what comfort feels like. It’s the feeling we get at the end of a long day when you curl up with your dog. Your whole body relaxes and you feel stress lift away. The same thing happens when you are going through a difficult time and a friend offers a hug. That moment of closeness makes you feel better, and cared for. Part of this has to do with the oxytocin that is released in the brain when you experience human contact. Your dog is likely feeling happy when you snuggle, as well. Endorphins are also released during positive physical contact, making you more joyful. These chemical releases help us to understand how our brain is related to moods.

Those Tasty Foods

You may be tempted to associate your feelings of comfort to memories associated with certain foods, however, this is only part of the equation. Comfort foods usually contain a significant amount of fatty acids. While these foods are not usually considered healthy for you physically, they seem to be good for your mental health. Your brain responds to a chemical reaction in the stomach after these foods are consumed. This response causes people to simply feel happy. MRI brain scans show results that correlate with the subject’s claims of increased happiness.

Bring on the Blankets 

If you head for a pile of blankets to feel comforted, there may be a reason for this too. In fact, there is even a blanket made especially for people with anxiety and depression. While most people can suffice with a regular covering, this weighted blanket adds extra comfort. The brain responds when you receive touch and pressure to the body. Blankets give you a similar reaction to that of hugs. The weight of a blanket can be beneficial to your mental wellbeing. The weighted blanket adds more pressure to the body and is thought to also induce healthier sleep patterns.

Talk it Out 

This one seems to be more psychological, however, tears have a physical way of clearing the body. Tears, however, shed during the conversation release chemicals from your body that would otherwise make you feel more sad and distressed. Go ahead and talk out your feelings, you may very well find the weight of your problems lifted.

The Basics

Comfort is a feeling we all seek at some point. The craving starts from the moment we are born. Newborns cry for bottles, milk, and physical touch. Denial of these basic needs can lead to severe psychological disorders and behavior problems as the child ages. Attachment issues caused from separation of parent and child can lead to violence and uncontrollable rage. Baby’s cry for a reason, and holding them is a physical necessity for proper comfort and development.

Most people have standard comfort items that they turn to when having a rough day. Go ahead and splurge on the chocolate cake if you are feeling sad and rundown. Your brain may very well need the fatty acids found in common comfort foods. Southern food is known for its soothing persona. So, grab a blanket, a snack, and a hug to chase the blues away.

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